For ‘Open Heart Surgery’ Clunie Reid created and installed works in a demolished toilet block within the exhibition venue: the Brutalist icon, 180 The Strand. A collage was installed at the back of each cubicle above stumps of plumbing and aluminium signs indicating where cisterns would once have hung. In each a black and white image, of a stack of steel bars occupying a similar concrete space, is dotted with push-pins and heart emojis and criss-crossed with smeared grey paint. Inserted within the readymade ‘decollage’ of this former toilet block at 180 The Strand, Reid’s degraded images read as an annotated document of the building’s former state.
‘I’m responding to glossy media, shedding a lot of seriousness, stripping the original images of their phallic, high-tech production values and transforming them into something more abjectly physical. ”Subversion is not my project. I think of the work more as analysing certain things structurally, what is concealed in certain forms of image and modes of expression.’
Clunie Reid on her artistic practice
In its allusion to the rigours of oral labour the work’s title imagines a seedy history for the former toilets. It also recalls Marcel Duchamp’s ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even’ (Better known as ‘The Large Glass’). In this glass panel sculpture a dense and incoherant iconography is allied with incidental effects – spider web cracks inflicted in transport and dust accumulated during fabrication. Critic Marjorie Perloff describes the work in ‘The Poetics of Indeterminacy’ as ‘a critique of the very criticism it inspires, mocking the solemnity of the explicator who is determined to find the key.’ Similarly Reid’s photographs, hand writing and drawing exist dually as references and as objects in their own right.
This approach is echoed in Bookworks G.S.O.H (Good Sense Of Humor) series call-out, for which Reid is chief editor – ‘We are looking for matter that might be books, pictures that might be texts, words that might be pictures, scribbles that might be language. Sensual, affirmative, popular…”, 2015 publishing. The artist’s strong involvement in publishing is also recalled in the installation’s title hand-written in marker on a full length mirror, incorporating the viewer within the display in a manner not unlike the mirrored surfaces employed in her published works.
In ‘Slut Stripped Tongue Bare, Even,’ Reid merges the entropic aesthetics of the exhibition space with those already present within her artistic practice. Combining diagrammatic collage with installation she develops a sensual narrative and idiosyncratic take on Duchamp’s classic work within this industrial architecture.
Clunie Reid (b. 1971, Pembury) is an artist living and working in London. She received her MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London and her BA in Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Art, London. Selected solo and two-person exhibitions include Celine, Glasgow, 2016 (with Georgia Horgan); Contemporary Art Society, London 2015; MOT International, London, 2013; Studio Voltaire, London, 2010; Gallerie Reinhard Hauff, Stuttgart, 2009. Recent group shows and screenings include The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 2016; Focal Point Gallery, London, 2015; Kunstverein Hamburg, 2015; Central Saint Martins, London, 2014; Art Basel Miami Beach, 2014; South London Gallery, 2014; LUX Touring, 2012. Reid is a Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, London and was guest editor of the Bookworks series ‘GSOH: The Rest is Dark.’